back to article NASA bites nails over Phoenix landing

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander is on its final approach for a slated touch-down on the Red Planet's Arctic region on 25 May amid a certain amount of nail-biting as to whether it will survive the landing. Ed Weiler, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, admitted yesterday: "This is not a trip to grandma's …


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  1. FathomsDown

    You missed a label out....

    In the massive purple crater you missed out the "Beagle 2" label.....

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Robot Wars

    Will NASA ever learn from Robot Wars and equip landers with a SRIMECH?

  3. Wize

    @robot wars

    And a nasty spinny disk to take out the aliens

  4. Dave Alderson

    Beagle here... Beagle here... Beagle here

    Shouldn't it have been a few more lables.... Bit of Beagle here... Bit of Beagle here... Bit of Beagle here...

  5. ImaGnuber

    Be Afraid. Be Very... etc.

    Astronomy buffs and Elvis seekers might not be so eager to find life elsewhere after reading this:

    Where Are They?

    Why I hope the search for extraterrestrial life finds nothing.

    By Nick Bostrom

    Technology Review - Published by MITMay/June 2008


  6. Miami Mike

    I'm not afraid

    Went and read Bostrom's article . . .

    If (big if) he is correct, and there is some "great filter" in our future, now at least we have some warning that something nasty this way comes (maybe), and we can possibly take steps to do something about it. Forewarned is forearmed.

    There's also the (big) possibility that he's totally wrong and spinning castles in the air, completely out of touch with (the as yet undefined) reality of the universe.

    Consider this also - group of people living on an island somewhere, the height of their technology is flint knives. A submarine goes past their island, submerged, silent. They'd never know it was there. There could be a daily parade of submarines, and it would make no difference at all to the islanders - they have no way of detecting them, communicating with them, stopping them, the islanders are beneath the notice of the submarines, or if they are noticed, they are of no interest.

    Our flint knives are more advanced (from our perspective), but we may be beneath the notice or of no interest whatsoever to a more advanced civilization - which by definition is more advanced than we are because they have mastered interstellar travel and we have not.

    Personally, I'd like to see some evidence of life (current or extinct) on Mars - it would put another nail into the coffin of the creationists.

  7. Chris Hawkins

    Up the little green classes.

    And what about this scheduled for later today?

    Methinks the aliens are worried that they are losing media and conspiracy theory coverage on earth, what with the situation in Mess'opotamia (apologies to Jon Stewart), natural disasters on earth, man-made disasters in the US (primaries), UK (Gordon & Boris) etc. etc.

    This will get the wires chattering again

  8. Anonymous Coward

    follow through

    So if my geometry is not that bad, then the big pointy volcano (ok olympus mons) is directly opposite a hugh great creater.. geeze that impact had some follow through!

  9. Tim Robson

    Re: ImaGnuber

    Read the article posted. Not that big a worry, in part because of the comment posted by Miami Mike, and in part because of other little parts that are flawed in there.

    For example, we routinely push radio signals into space. However, because of diminishing returns, we know that it requires an absolutely enormous amount of energy to push a signal to the range that would be necessary to require it as "proof", if such a thing can be proved, that there exists no other civilization capable of space travel than our own.

    In addition to that, we also know that if you focus a signal, then it gets to its destination with lower power requirements for the sender- I don't need the same kind of power for a directional beam to go ten miles that I do for an omnidirectional signal to go ten miles. So, wouldn't it make sense for most communication to be relatively narrow band signals from one solar system to the next? And therefore, wouldn't us picking up those signals require that we also be in the path of those narrow band signals?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    "This is not a trip to grandma's house."

    Well, as I remember the story, that one didn't turn out too well either ....

    I'll get me red hoodie...

  11. Bounty
    Black Helicopters

    I agree with Tim

    further, the great barrier IS distance.

    If or when, we manage fast travel (faster than light) then it's in the submarine scenario. Also speaking on galactic scales, we've only been beaming radio signals into space an EXTREMELY short time.... With technology, we may not need or want to for very long. With fiber to the house, and high bandwidth wireless from fiber connected sites (or auto-directional antenna's for high bandwidth). Plus doesn't high bandwidth stuff attenuate faster. The window for which a society spams radio may be short. Add in technology to encrpyt and potentially hide signals in background noise...... Doesn't supprise me we'll probably find aliens in person before we intercept their signals.

    Then figure how long it's taking us to frag this planet...any signals we make in the future may not originate from the direction of class M planets. (for all of you wanting to point directional antenna's at those planets) :>

  12. Graham Dawson

    it would put another nail into the coffin of the creationists.

    Nah. "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd."

    Of course it could be argued this was just a reference to people who weren't Israel but, where's the fun in that?

  13. Kevin Wagner

    it would put another nail into the coffin of the creationists.

    Don't be silly. They adjust their fantasies as needed to envelope the reality at hand.

  14. CTG


    Wet chemistry experiment?

    fnarr, fnarr...

  15. Evil Graham

    Creationists will suddenly become ...

    ... conspiracy theorists.

    Nothing fazes these people. They'll just claim that NASA fabricated it all and we'll be back to square one.

    Once they've decided to believe something, they *really* like to keep on believing it - and no amount of scientific fact is going to change their minds. After all, the discovery of dinosaurs didn't stop them did it?

  16. Graham Dawson


    Despite what you might think, nothing about creationism actually rules out the possibility of alien life. I know there are times when creationists have said otherwise but they're silly people.

    Look at it this way: if you were God, would you stop at one planet?

    There's an entire universe out there! The evolutionist looks at it and marvels at the wondrous possibilities of nature. The creationist looks at it and is struck by the infinite majesty of God. You know that feeling you get when you look up at the stars and realise just how far you're actually seeing, the one that makes you feel so very, very small... anyway the assumption that God would only make one planet full of life is silly, and people on either side of this great chasmic debate using that assumption are equally silly.

    In fact it's all silly. Lets go and get merry instead. And no, I don't care if it is thursday.

  17. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Down

    God botherers

    Maybe Mars is Gods weekender. Don't they know not to upset our invisible sky-daddy overlords?

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